1% of global population causes 50% of all carbon pollution emitted by the aviation industry

November 20, 2020 by  
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Recent research published in  Global Environmental Change  has revealed that only 1% of people cause half of all aviation pollution globally. According to the study, regular “super emitters” are polluting the environment at the expense of millions of people who do not fly.  The study, conducted through analysis of aviation data, revealed that large populations across all countries did not fly at all in the years observed. For instance, about 53% of Americans did not fly in 2018, yet the U.S. ranked as the leading aviation emission contributor globally. In Germany, 65% of people did not fly, in Taiwan 66%, and in the U.K. about 48% of the population did not fly abroad in the same period.  These findings suggest that the bulk of pollution caused by the aviation industry comes from the actions of very few people. Further supporting this point, the study revealed that only 11% of the global population flew in 2018, while only 4% flew abroad. Comparing these numbers to the level of emission aviation causes indicates that the rich few in society fuel this pollution the most. Meanwhile, marginalized communities will likely face the harshest consequences of this pollution . In 2018, airlines produced a billion tons of CO2. Even worse, the same airlines benefited from a $100 billion subsidy by not paying for the climate change caused. The U.S. tops the list of leading aviation emitter countries, contributing more CO2 to the environment than the next 10 countries on the list. This means that the U.S. alone contributes more aviation-based CO2 than the U.K., Germany, Japan and Australia combined.  Research also indicates that global aviation’s contribution to the climate crisis continues to increase. Before the coronavirus pandemic, emissions caused by flights had grown by 32% between 2013 and 2018. If there are no measures put in place to curb the pollution, these rates will likely continue skyrocketing post-pandemic.  Stefan Gössling of Linnaeus University in Sweden, the study’s lead author, says that the only way of dealing with the issue is by redesigning the aviation industry. “If you want to resolve climate change and we need to redesign [aviation], then we should start at the top, where a few ‘super emitters’ contribute massively to global warming ,” said Gössling. “The rich have had far too much freedom to design the planet according to their wishes. We should see the crisis as an opportunity to slim the air transport system.” + The Guardian Image via Pixabay

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1% of global population causes 50% of all carbon pollution emitted by the aviation industry

Renowned landscape architects unveil designs to save the Tidal Basin

November 20, 2020 by  
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The National Mall Tidal Basin — also known as “America’s front yard” — is home to some of the nation’s most iconic landmarks such as the Jefferson Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. But the beloved Washington, D.C. public space is under threat from daily flooding and is in urgent need of critical repairs and improvements. In a bid to save the celebrated landscape, five prestigious landscape architecture firms — DLANDstudio, GGN, Hood Design Studio, James Corner Field Operations and Reed Hilderbrand — have been tapped to reimagine the future of the Tidal Basin and National Mall. Keep reading for a preview of all the designs. In 2019, the National Trust for Historic Preservation banded together with the Trust for the National Mall, the National Parks Service, Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) and American Express to launch the Tidal Basin Ideas Lab , an initiative seeking proposals to save the 107-acre Tidal Basin site in Washington, D.C. After months of preparation, the Tidal Basin Ideas Lab recently unveiled visionary proposals from five award-winning landscape architecture firms including New York City-based DLANDstudio, Seattle-based GGN, Oakland-based Hood Design Studio, New York City-based James Corner Field Operations and Cambridge-based Reed Hilderbrand. Each proposal not only responds to the pressing issues plaguing the area’s infrastructure but also examines ways to heighten the visitor experience through improved environmental and cultural considerations. Due to the pandemic, the proposals are presented in an online-only, museum-quality exhibition co-curated by New York City curator of design Donald Albrecht and Thomas Mellins, an architectural historian and independent curator. The public is invited to learn about the Tidal Basin’s history, which was completed in 1887 as a major hydrological feat as well as the ongoing challenges and comprehensive proposals. The public will also be able to give feedback and offer ideas on saving the Tidal Basin. “As part of ‘America’s front yard’, the Tidal Basin is home to some of the most iconic landmarks and traditions in the nation’s capital,” said Katherine Malone-France, Chief Preservation Officer of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Yet current conditions do not do justice to a landscape of such significance. With this new digital exhibition, we are excited to share and engage the public with creative thinking from five of the best landscape architecture firms in the world. These ideas explore ways to sustain this cultural landscape and its richly layered meanings for generations to come. This isn’t preservation as usual: this is preservation as innovation.” Related: BIG unveils sweeping overhaul to Smithsonian Campus Master Plan True to its name, the Tidal Basin Ideas Lab will be focused on cultivating bold ideas and promoting dialogue between designers, stakeholders and the public rather than choosing a single winner as is typical in design competitions. The exhibition will supplement the National Park Service’s mandated environmental review of the Tidal Basin as well as master planning and detailed design, which have not yet been completed but are integral to securing funding for construction and implementation. All five creative concepts, revealed late last month, celebrate and raise awareness of the Tidal Basin’s long history and have reimagined the cultural landscape to better meet modern safety and accessibility needs while addressing critical infrastructure repairs and improvements. DLANDstudio’s proposal makes bold steps of introducing extensions to the landscape in both the Tidal Basin and the Potomac River to reorient circulation. A long land bridge would connect the Jefferson Memorial and the White House, while a new jetty to the west would branch off of the Lincoln Memorial to house the relocated memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. Flooding would be mitigated with sponge park wetlands , a reflective weir and a green security wall. GGN’s vision is an adaptive plan phased across three stages to conclude in 2090. The design uses ecological solutions to protect the landscape from forecasted sea level changes and also the potential adaptation and relocation of existing monuments. James Corner Field Operations has proposed three ideas for combating rising sea levels : Protect & Preserve, a scheme to keep the existing landscape intact with improved maintenance and engineering; Island Archipelago, in which flooding would be accepted as an inevitable reality and monuments would be elevated and treated as islands within the Tidal Basin; and Curate Entropy, another design where the site is allowed to flood and a careful balance is maintained between the Tidal Basin’s existing layout and the new landscape. Hood Design Studio focuses on reshaping the Tidal Basin with underrepresented narratives, from the stories of how wetlands were valued by Indigenous and enslaved peoples to promoting dialogue on rebuilding urban ecologies. Reed Hilderbrand’s design draws on the 1902 McMillan Plan, a comprehensive planning document that strongly influenced the urban planning and design of Washington, D.C., particularly with its proposal for a “Washington Commons,” a diverse and connected regional park system. The plan also encourages new interactions with the landscape with an uplands Cherry Walk, a Memorial Walk, a Marsh Walk and a new landform called Independence Rise that would accommodate rising water levels and connect back to the city with a pedestrian bridge. + Tidal Basin Ideas Lab Images via Tidal Basin Ideas Lab

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Renowned landscape architects unveil designs to save the Tidal Basin

France announces eco tax on plane tickets

July 11, 2019 by  
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The French government announced that it will roll out a tax on all international flights departing from France starting in 2020. The small tax will generate a predicted $200 million USD in revenue every year that the government will invest into cleaner transportation technology and infrastructure. Depending on the cost of the flight, the tax could cost anywhere from $1.70 to $20 USD per ticket. The eco tax will not apply to domestic flights within France nor flights arriving in the country from international origins. It will also exclude flights traveling to overseas territories still under French rule. A spokesperson from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) dismissed the utility of the tax, stating, “National taxes will do nothing to assist the aviation industry in its sustainability efforts.” Instead, the spokesperson, Anthony Concil, recommended national governments should help airline corporations invest in cleaner fuels and more advanced technology . In fact, shares in AirFrance, Ryan Air and EasyJet all went down after the announcement was made. Related: Airplanes’ contrail clouds are more harmful than their carbon emissions On the other side of the coin, environmental activists are somewhat content that the announcement is at least a step in the right direction and a nod to the role the transportation industry will have to play. According to Andrew Murphy from Brussels-based Transport and Environment, “This alone won’t do much, but at least it’s a recognition by the French government that more is required.” Germany, Italy and England already have similar eco taxes. In England, the additional fee can be up to $214 USD, and it generates a total of $3.7 billion USD annually. Other European countries are also looking to reverse a longstanding tax break for airline fuel that effectively subsidizes the industry’s use of fossil fuels and misses a significant opportunity for government tax revenue. Via AP News Image via BriYYZ

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France announces eco tax on plane tickets

14 apps to help you live a more eco-friendly sustainable lifestyle

July 11, 2019 by  
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So you’ve made the choice to start living more sustainably. That’s great! Figuring out how to start can be daunting, but luckily technology is here to help. These handy resources can fit in your pocket and serve as a reminder to continue your journey towards a more sustainable, greener life— whether you’re an experienced advocate for sustainability or just starting out. Related: The pros and cons of online versus in-store shopping Forest Forest lets you combine mindfulness, productivity and focus with real-life tree planting. By not checking your phone for a designated amount of time, the app lets you grow virtual trees , which can then be exchanged for actual trees planted throughout five African countries by Trees for the Future . Tap Plastic bottles are one of the greatest sources of plastic pollution in our oceans, and switching to a reusable water bottle is a simple way to reduce waste. Tap accesses your location and lets you find water refill stations nearby so you can fill up without creating any plastic garbage . HowGood HowGood has a database of 200,000 food product ratings to help users make more sustainable choices. With each product rated by growing guidelines, processing practices and company conduct, this app is a great tool for users who want to be more mindful about what they eat by choosing food that is ethically produced and environmentally friendly with minimal processing.  JouleBug JouleBug combines the best parts of sustainable living with social interaction and saving money on your utility bill. The app allows users to competitively track and score their sustainable habits and share them with friends. JouleBug also includes suggestions and tips for small changes that can help you live a more sustainable lifestyle .  ThredUp Making sure that less of your used clothes end up in a landfill by offering them up to other consumers first is a no-brainer. ThredUp is an online consignment store where you can take pictures of your clothes and sell them through the app. Related: Your guide to eco-friendly toothpastes OfferUp A simple way to buy and sell used items, OfferUp lets users find a new home for their unwanted items instead of the trash can. It only takes a few minutes to snap a photo of your item, post it on the app and connect with potential buyers. You can securely message through the app and check people’s profiles and transaction history as well.  PaperKarma Not only is junk mail super annoying, it’s wasteful and bad for the environment. With PaperKarma you can stop the actual physical junk mail that shows up in your mailbox and forces you to throw away good paper for no reason. Within the app, you simply snap a photo of your junk mail and received an unsubscribed notification about 24 hours later. Olio We throw away billions of pounds of food away every year in the United States— equal to 30-40 percent of our food supply. With Olio, users can connect with neighbors and local businesses to share food. Whether you’ve bought too much of something, prepared too much dinner or purged your fridge before vacation , making sure precious food doesn’t go to waste is easier than you think. DoneGood DoneGood helps you find ethical brands with ease through both an app on your phone and an extension for your internet browser. As you search and shop for products, DoneGood will create pop-up suggestions for alternatives offered by ethical stores. You can also align suggestions based on your personal passions. DoneGood selects their businesses based on things like eco-friendly , non-toxic, cruelty-free, organic, diversity and giving back.  No Waste Track and reduce your food waste with No Waste, an interactive organizational app that lets you make an inventory of the items in your fridge, freezer and pantry. You’ll be able to sort and search for food by category or expiration date to ensure that nothing goes to waste and share your lists with friends or family.  Oroeco Oroeco puts a carbon value on everything from what you buy to the food you eat and even to the appliances you use at home. The app has partnered with UC Berkeley’s CoolClimate research group to compare their users’ carbon values with their neighbors and friends, while providing them with personalized tips to help reduce their energy use and carbon footprints. The app also works with Impact Carbon , a non-profit that helps underdeveloped countries access energy-efficient appliances.  Sustainability Aware In order to ensure a brighter future for the earth, teaching our children about green living and sustainability will be paramount. That’s where Sustainability Aware comes it. A series of educational apps designed for children that teach about the environment and human impact, all in a fun, engaging way. Each app is made for a specific grade level and age group. iRecycle Proper recycling is a simple concept, but isn’t always simple to execute. The iRecycle app finds the closest opportunity to recycle based on your location. Whether you are looking for a recycling center near your home or find yourself walking down the street with an empty water bottle, iRecycle can help.  SDGs in Action Keep up to date on worldwide sustainable development news and learn about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with this app. The SDGs are basically a world to-do list to address poverty, climate change and inequality by the year 2030. Users can personalize the app to receive notifications about specific goals and find nearby events to help show support. Screenshots via Inhabitat. Image via picjumbo.com

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14 apps to help you live a more eco-friendly sustainable lifestyle

Easy street: How we can use AI for infrastructure maintenance

May 30, 2018 by  
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Artifical Intelligence can move our planes, trains and automobiles in the right direction.

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Easy street: How we can use AI for infrastructure maintenance

How a clean energy portfolio creates more than just value for Michigan

May 30, 2018 by  
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The Great Lakes State is a microcosm of not only the Midwestern but also the national utility landscape.

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How a clean energy portfolio creates more than just value for Michigan

Boeing to reveal mysterious space plane of the future

December 21, 2017 by  
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Boeing is set to release a new plane that the company claims to be “the future of air power.” In a video posted on Twitter, Boeing, one of the largest aircraft manufacturers in the world, offered a glimpse of its new creation, which seemed to bear some resemblance to the Batmobile. The plane is being developed by Phantom Works, the company’s advanced design division, and is being kept tightly under wraps until its to-be-announced reveal date. However, rumor has it that the new aircraft may be suited for space travel. This would follow Boeing’s X-37B plane, first built for the United States military, which is capable of traveling outside of Earth’s atmosphere . Boeing was recently granted another contract from the Pentagon to develop the XS-1 space plane, which would provide “short-notice, low-cost access to space”, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ( DARPA ). It is possible that this new mystery plane has nothing to do with space travel , with some speculating that it could be a new electric aircraft designed to take-off and land vertically. Related: Swiss pilot plans to fly solar airplane to the edge of space The aviation giant recently acquired Aurora Flight Sciences, which last year won a DARPA contract to build the XV-24A LightningStrike VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) plane. When released, it will include new innovative features, such as “hybrid-electric propulsion ducted fans” and an “innovative synchronous electric-drive system,” according to Aurora . The plane also boasts increased hovering efficiency of 70 percent and is able to carry at least 5,000 pounds. Whatever this mystery plane is, news of it comes on an historic week for Boeing, during which the last 747 to ever fly on an American airline will make its final landing in Detroit . Via the Telegraph Images via Boeing and DARPA

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Boeing to reveal mysterious space plane of the future

Gorgeous copper-clad home celebrates craft in the Pacific Northwest

December 21, 2017 by  
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Boasting lakeside views and a strong attention to craftsmanship, the Brook Bay Residence is a gorgeous luxury home nestled on Washington’s Mercer Island. Architect Rick Sundberg , currently Principal at Sundberg Kennedy Ly-Au Young (SKL) Architects, designed this two-story residence that embraces the outdoors yet preserves client privacy. Copper and dark-stained cedar wrap around the handsome home that’s filled with high-end materials and the clients’ extensive art collection. Located across Lake Washington from Seattle , the 4,400-square-foot Brook Bay Residence features an L-shaped design with a cantilevered wing to take advantage of lake views. Dark-stained cedar wraps around the cantilevered wing, which houses the master suite, while copper clads the public areas. Natural light floods the cool and contemporary interior featuring wood casework and a wide array of custom designs by local craftspeople that include entry doors with antique Chinese wood panels, blackened steel staircase, a glass and metal chandelier, interior copper panels, and a dining table of wood, steel, and concrete. Related: Copper-clad chapel is a beacon of unity in one of Helsinki’s most multicultural districts In contrast to the public area’s blackened concrete floors and granite—which provide a sleek backdrop to the client’s extensive Pacific Northwest art collection—the private spaces are lined with lighter-toned materials. Inviting timber wraps around the master bedroom and the office, while the spa-like bathroom is surrounded with beautiful limestone and eucalyptus cabinetry. “It’s about thinking where you are during the course of the day and how we can make you feel more calm or comfortable,” said Sundberg. + Sundberg Kennedy Ly-Au Young Architects Images by Ben Benschneider

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Gorgeous copper-clad home celebrates craft in the Pacific Northwest

Aircraft Punching Holes In Clouds Can Increase Precipitation Around Airports

July 1, 2011 by  
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Aircraft-induced cloud hole over Antarctica, image courtesy Science /AAAS Definitely interesting: New research in the journal Science shows how airplanes can affect the local weather around airports. As the planes fly through the clouds, they can punch holes through ones contained supercooled water, in turn stimulating precipitation.

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Aircraft Punching Holes In Clouds Can Increase Precipitation Around Airports

Best and Worst of 2009: Bikes, Planes, Trains, and Boats

December 23, 2009 by  
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2009 in Transportation, Except Cars Cars are important (we recently looked at the Best and Worst of 2009), but there’s more to transportation. In this slideshow, we take a closer look at some 2009 highlights in the world of bikes, planes, trains, and boats

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Best and Worst of 2009: Bikes, Planes, Trains, and Boats

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